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How to Remove Tile Sealer Haze

According to Scott Warrington of eClean Advisor, many homeowners inspect and approve their professionally laid tile immediately after it is done, only to find out later, after the floor has had time to dry, that a milky white haze covers their floor. This white haze is excess tile sealer. Small amounts of excess sealer will be flaky and easy to scrape away with your fingernail. Significant amounts will be sticky to the touch. No matter how much excess you are dealing with, however, the haze is easy to remove with the right tools and solvents.


Thin, Milky Haze

Sealer haze is easiest to spot on dark tile.
  1. Polish the hazed areas of the tile with a rotary floor polishing machine (available for rent at many home improvement centers) and a white polishing pad, which you will have to purchase. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to operate the device. If the haze is stubborn, switch to a red buffing pad.
  2. Sweep the floor.
  3. Scrub the haze from the grout with a grout brush.
  4. Sweep and then mop the floor with a household floor tile cleaning solution. Dilute it with water according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Examine the floor for any residual haze and repeat the process if necessary.

Heavy, Sticky Residue

  1. Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and wet the residue with the spray.
  2. Scrub the wetted area with a grout brush.
  3. Scrub again with a white cotton towel. Wipe the area with a clean towel moistened with water to remove any residual alcohol.
  4. Apply a few drops of water to the grout in the scrubbed area. If the water beads on the surface of the grout, the sealant is still in place and your job is done. If the water absorbs, a significant amount of the sealer has been removed along with the grout haze.
  5. Reapply tile and grout sealant to the area according to the product's instructions. If possible, use the same product that was previously used on the floor. If you cannot obtain that product, the folks at eCleaner recommend Premium Stone & Grout Sealer. After you apply the sealer, wipe the area vigorously with a clean cotton towel to remove any excess.

Things You Will Need

  • Rotary floor polishing machine
  • Polishing pad
  • Buffing pad
  • Broom
  • Dust pan
  • Floor cleaning solution
  • Sponge mop
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • White cotton towels
  • Grout sealer

Tips

  • Two types of haze can appear on a floor after tile installation: grout haze and sealer haze. One easy way to tell if you are dealing with grout haze or sealer haze is to scratch a bit of the haze with your fingernail. Sealer haze flakes off easily. Grout haze is powdery.
  • If you have installed the sealer yourself and you notice a bit of haze immediately after application, simply re-moisten the haze with a few drops of sealer. Then wipe the area vigorously with a paper towel until the haze is gone.
  • To avoid removing the sealer with the isopropyl alcohol, allow the sealer to cure for at least 48 hours before attempting to remove the haze.

About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.

Photo Credits

  • Christine Balderas/Photodisc/Getty Images